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Press Release

Friday, February 12, 2010

Elizabeth Hirst, Volunteer USA Foundation
(850) 562-5300 or (850) 509-3834

Famous Children’s Author R.L. Stine Hosts Storycontest Winners at Spell Binding Student Breakfast

~ Student Breakfast Kicks-Off 10th Annual Celebration of Reading ~

BONITA SPRINGS, Fla. (Feb. 12, 2010) – Local students, educators and members from the business community today joined famed children’s author R.L. Stine for a breakfast extravaganza to tout the thrill of reading. They were joined by State Representative Tom Grady (District 76) and State Education Commissioner Eric Smith for the 10thth annual Celebration of Reading Breakfast. The breakfast, generously sponsored by Brown & Brown PRIA was part of the annual Celebration of Reading event which supports family literacy academies in local communities.

This year, Volunteer USA, which manages the Family Literacy Initiative, teamed up with Stine for a Very Scary Story Contest for young readers – asking them to use their imagination and write their very own twisted tales.

“R.L. Stine is undoubtedly a favorite author among children who are mesmerized each time they read his horror-filled Goosebumps books,” said Rep. Grady, local Celebration co-chair. “What better way to get our kids excited and interested in the joys of reading, writing and learning.”

The contest was open to students in grades 4-7 in Lee, Collier, Hendry and Glades counties. (No entries were received from Charlotte County). Students were asked to cast their own spell by writing a story based on the HorrorLand Amusement Park from the book, Goosebumps HorrorLand: Revenge of the Living Dummy.

“What a fabulous group of creative writers we had submitting super scary stories,” said Stine. “They were all so scary and creative."

The winning student writers are:

  • Collier County Public Schools
    • Creatures of the Dark by Maria Lopez, 5th Grade, Parkside Elementary School
    • Revenge of the Living Dummy by Jeffson Saint-Preux, 6th Grade, Highland Elementary School
  • Glades County Public Schools
    • Demon Horror Lair by Gino Castano, 4th Grade, West Glades Elementary School
    • The Space Scraper by Carina Marie Castano, 4th Grade, West Glades Elementary School
  • Hendry County Public Schools
    • Scream for Your Life by Gabrielle Horne, 4th Grade, Upthegrove Elementary School
    • The Fiery Coaster of Fury by Kaley Boddy, 4th Grade, Upthegrove Elementary School
  • Lee County Public Schools
    • Vengeance of the Sinister Twin by Catherine Pence, 5th Grade, Gateway Charter Intermediate School
    • The Haunted Ride by Adam Lain, 7th Grade, Oasis Middle School

Contest winners, along with their parents, were rewarded with a special “Young Writer’s” certificate and were R.L. Stine’s guests of honor at the breakfast.

“As a former classroom teacher, I understand how critical early reading and creative writing skills are to academic success,” said Education Commissioner Dr. Eric J. Smith. “I’m excited that our students can explore literacy opportunities in a fun and creative way, and who better to help them use their imaginations than the incredible author R.L. Stine.”

Brown & Brown PRIA vice-presidents Alan Florez and Michelle Martin joined the group as they listened to some of the children read their winning stories, before presenting them with achievement certificates.

Later this afternoon, Stine will join former Governor Jeb and Columba Bush and former President George H.W. and Barbara Bush, along with 10 other celebrity authors for the 10th Annual Celebration of Reading event. Celebration is the fundraising vehicle for the Family Literacy Initiative which began during Bush’s first term as governor.

For more information about Volunteer USA Foundation’s Family Literacy Initiative and how to become involved with literacy initiatives within the community, please visit

About R.L. Stine
R. L. Stine is the author of over 100 novels for children. He was born Robert Lawrence Stine in 1943 in Columbus, Ohio. Stine started writing when he was 9 years old. Stine is a wonderful writer for children and young adults. He writes over 24 novels a year. Stine’s thrillers contain age-appropriate chills. No one dies in Goosebumps and the novels are geared to grade-schoolers. But, for adolescents, heads roll in Fear Street. The Goosebumps horror series, published by Scholastic for 7-12 year olds, has consumed readers since 1989.
About Celebration of Reading
Celebration of Reading is an annual event that generates grant funding for family literacy programs through the Family Literacy Initiative, proudly managed by the Volunteer USA Foundation. Families benefit through a variety of programs that improve overall education for both parents and their children, beginning with literacy. Since its inception, Celebration of Reading has helped to fund 140 family literacy programs throughout the state, touching the lives of tens-of-thousands of individuals in Florida.